Is there a potential cure for fibromyalgia or a way to protect against fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is primarily a neurological brain disorder. It is seven times more likely to strike women than men, and it doesn’t matter what nationality you are. The hypothalamus part of the brain acts as a circuit breaker/fuse box for the rest of the brain and body. It’s like the battery for the entire body.
There are several things that typically cause Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to manifest, but basically high amounts of stress are what cause the hypothalamus to blow its fuse, creating a host of neurological problems, like hormone imbalances, increased pain sensitivity, fatigue, and “brain fog“. Essentially, you’ve got a dead battery that won’t hold a charge, which is why so many people experience debilitating fatigue. The blown fuse can happen in an instant, and you get no say in if or when it happens.
The hypothalamus has done a system-wide “shutting down” and tried to reboot, in an effort to protect your body and brain from further stress and damage. Like when you turn off your computer and restart it because using Ctrl +Alt +Delete hasn’t worked. Only, by doing this, the brain is permanently altered, like a computer virus that can’t be repaired.
A person can quite literally be fine one day and wake up the next morning feeling so completely different, and your entire life has changed because your brain no longer functions the way it used to. Many Fibro/CFS patients can pinpoint the exact day/week/month everything changed for them. The most common “triggers” fibromyalgia patients report are:
A virus/illness or a prolonged decrease in the immune system
Lime’s Disease, Epstein Bar Virus, Mono are often associated with the development of Fibromyalgia and CFS symptoms. etc.
A sudden traumatic event
A house fire, abusive situations, physical attacks, etc. Similar to PTSD, or Dissociation disorders, the brain is trying to cope and process the additional shock and stress, triggering the hypothalamus to “protect” the rest of the brain by flipping a switch.
Medical or dental surgery
Any time you have surgery, it puts the body under huge increases in stress, because cutting into your body sends the brain “we are under attack!” signals.
Because of the drastic hormonal shifts, joint stress, depleted vitamins and minerals, and the physical trauma of the birth process, pregnancy creates so much stress that for whatever reason the mother’s body just can’t handle it. Fibromyalgia develops during pregnancy or soon after birth. For many women, their Fibromyalgia symptoms and Chronic Fatigue are ignored as simple “hormone shifts” or ” new mommy fatigue”, when in fact her body will never really readjust back to normal.
High-pressure lifestyles/stressful jobs/major anxiety
Workaholics, or people who don’t take enough time off, or just can’t relax and rest. In school-age students, the stress of studies, trying to get good grades, fears of the future, or even too many activities can cause an abundance of stress the body can’t handle.
For some adults, this means they get sick in the form of common things like high blood pressure, heart attacks, or stroke. Others can develop Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or other random “stress-related” illnesses.
Many people are able to live completely normal, energetic, and happy lives BEFORE these stressful, triggering events. Any of these things can cause the hypothalamus fuse to blow like a light bulb that goes out. Once that fuse blows, basically your “brain is broken“. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what gender. Even children and teenagers can (and do) develop Fibro and CFS, especially if they have had an accident, undergone serious trauma, or had to have surgery. Being young doesn’t automatically mean someone is healthy, even if they “look healthy”.
This can happen to anyone, at any time, and once it does, there is no way to change that. You can’t just flip the switch back to fix it. The hypothalamus begins sending the wrong signals to the rest of the brain and to the nerves, causing the super sensitive fascia, painful joints and muscles, sensitivity to touch, and intolerance to certain foods and weather changes, causing thyroid and metabolic changes, and cognitive disruptions.
Ironically, the brain’s fuse box blows in an effort to protect your brain and body from further damage because of the prolonged stress you have already been under. This is the chief reason why so many Fibromyalgia patients experience a “Flair Up” of pain and other symptoms when they are under high amounts of additional life stress, like family conflict or having to pack and move. Things like exercise and many mundane physical activities are just too stressful for an already constantly stressed out body, so these things cause a flair-up of symptoms.
The body is already so stressed out from whatever life has thrown at you and being in pain 24/7 that you just can’t handle it anymore. The “Flare Up” will force you to slow down and rest, even when you have things you need to do. This is why a Fibro/CFS patient can feel okay enough to go out and do things one day (feeling “normal“) and be utterly exhausted for the days or weeks after, in a “Flair up”.
Because Fibromyalgia is so physically debilitating, in this way your body is forcing you to rest and slow down, so it can make an effort to heal itself and relax. This is why people with Fibro need to take steps to simplify their life and be as stress-free as possible. Medicine and Science is just now figuring this out, and it might take another couple of decades for them to agree on a treatment plan that will actually cure the hypothalamus and flip the switch back on.
Please note that this is an extremely simplified explanation of brain functions and responses. There has been tons of research by the medical community that can go into even greater details. I simply tried to put my understanding of their complex (and complicated) research discoveries into common terms and phrases people can easily relate to. I am not a doctor, but I have spent the last decade researching and learning about my diagnosis.
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs